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October, 1944 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 277 from their present advantageous position in air transport unless they are compelled by argument or competition to do so, and Aircraft Engineering the bigger the calibre of the British "gun" at this conference Th e Monthly Scientific and Technical table, the better for the British Empire and the future of British aviation. The attitude of the other nations is not of the same Organ of the Aeronautical Engineering paramount importance. Russia has so much scope for the deve lopment of internal air transport routes that we do not think Professio n she will wish to intrude on the spheres of others; while China is in Editor: Lieut.-Col. W.Lochxvood Marsh, O.B.E.,F.R.Ae.S.,M.S.A.E.,F.Iule.S. much the same position. None of the smaller allied nations, either, will wish to embark to any great extent on international air routes Vol. XVI. No . 188 October, 1944 —with the exception of the Netherlands which has, of course, a prescriptive right to run services to her overseas possessions. France is, of course, rather an unknown quantity at present, and will, unfortunately, hardly be in a position to develop external services for S a result, it is understood, of a last-minute change of policy some time—though her ultimate legitimate ambitions must be safe influenced by the views put forward by a deputation of guarded. The real struggle will, therefore, undoubtedly be between Members of Parliament, the British Government now includes England and America and a strong sound policy must be decided a-Minister of Cabinet rank appointed "to devote his whole time to upon soon and relentlessly pressed. It is thus important that the carrying forward the work of planning in the field of civil aviation, man who is t o frame and control this policy should be a strong person particularly in its international and imperial aspects". This means ality with sane views. that there are three Cabinet Ministers dealing with air matters— the Secretary of State for Air (SIR AREHIBALD SINCLAIR), the Minis A Sound Choice ter of Aircraft Production (SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS) and the new Minister for Civil Aviation (LORD SWINTON). LORD SWINTON is, we believe, a good choice. Though not perhaps adequately appreciated at the time, he showed himself from 1935 to A Temporary Measure 1938 one of the best Air Ministers of the last 20 years—as witness his inception of, and insistence on, the Shadow Factory schemes in This is, quite frankly, preposterous. We are as fanatical as any spite of considerable opposition. believer in the importance of aviation, but that it should require Some of the organs of the daily press have criticized the appoint the full-time employment of three Ministers to cover its three facets ment on the ground that the Minister of Civil Aviation should be is utterly ridiculous—the fact has only to be stated for its fantastic available to be "shot at" in the House of Commons. We do not quality to be apparent. I t is, therefore, manifestly only a temporary agree. The more he is free to formulate his policy without constant state of affairs, destined to be brought to an end at the end of interference from inquisitive politicians, each busily grinding his the war at latest. The Ministry of Aircraft Production will pre own political axe, the better. There are numbers of national questions sumably then be wound up, its raison d'etre having disappeared, and —such as the vexed matter of the "Chosen Instrument"—that badly we venture to think that shortly afterwards the Department of need to be raised above party politics and his position in the clois Civil Aviation will be merged in the Ministry of Transport—perhaps tered atmosphere of the House of Lords will be far more conducive renamed Ministry of Communications. Past experience has shown to a decision of these points on a sound basis of general policy. tha t if it. is incorporated in the Air Ministry it is inevitably starved, LORD SWINTON has the further benefit of recent experience in as, and quite rightly, the activities of what is a service department colonial administration in a part of the world, West Africa, where primarily, and indeed exclusively, must be devoted to service affairs. the advantages of air transport have been proved in a more striking As a matter of organization it is clearly necessary that there should manner than perhaps anywhere else. He will be in a position to be three departments dealing with the naval, military and air forces realize, for instance, the importance to South Africa and the Empire of the Crown. Civil aviation, therefore, must find another home; of the Lagos-Khartoum service, the inauguration of which, as is which logically should be in close contact with the Governmental described in an article in this issue, was due to British initiative officers dealing with the other means of transport—water, rail and and enterprise in the years immediately preceding the war. road. As a permanent arrangement, then, civil aviation should be a At any rate, whatever may be the future position of civil aviation branch of the Ministry of Transport. in the hierarehy of Government, it is good to know that its imme diate importance in the national and international fields is appre Matters for Decision ciated and that it is at last to receive the consideration which is The present times are, however, exceptional and there is perhaps its due. justification for the temporary ad hoc employment of a Minister in a position to give undivided attention to formulating policy in regard Firs t Things First to the lines on which the organization of British Civil-aviation is to The temporary position is, of course, distinctly amorphous ; be based. There are, first, important domestic questions t o be settled with the responsibility for the control of civil aviation remaining as between the rival claims of having one, or a series of, public a t the Air Ministry—where it has been placed by Statute. Perhaps, bodies on the lines of British Overseas Airways, to run the various however, this is as well, since it frees the new Minister from the overseas air lines, or leaving this open to free competition by private distractions of day-to-day departmental trivialities so that he can enterprise in the shape of the shipping companies and specially get ahead, untrammelled, with the consideration of wider questions constituted air transport firms. When these points are settled, there of policy. Indeed, detail decisions on the organization, and even are "the operational and technical questions connected with the future home, of a department of civil aviation can well wait until establishment of air routes between British Commonwealth bigger matters have been cleared out of the way. Let us decide on countries" (to quote SIR AREHIBALD SINCLAIR) such as are to be the plan and construction of the house before we set about arranging discussed, at the forthcoming Imperial Conference at Montreal. the furniture in the rooms. After which there will be the still wider matters of international If, in spite of what we have written above, Civil Aviation is co-operation and apportionment to be discussed. permanently to have a Ministry of its own, one important question tha t will have to be settled is the location of aeronautical researeh. The International Aspect I t will need to be independent of either the military or civil side and, therefore, we hope that the proposal of SIR HENRY TIZARD, that it I t is well that the individual charged with the conduct of these should be placed in the hands of an aeronautical researeh council, negotiations should be supported by all the prestige given by directly under the Lord President of the Privy Council, will be Cabinet rank. There will be need for hard bargaining with the adopted. United States, who quite definitely have no intention of receding
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 1944
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